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Metrics vs. Gut: Should you measure all of your digital marketing efforts?

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Metrics vs. Gut

The metrics that measure content marketing success

17 KPIs you need to measure!

What metrics should I look for?

The 3 metrics you must measure in your digital marketing!

Do any of the above titles seem familiar to you?

Let me tell you, each of them is a title I took from fairly popular articles posted on major business and marketing stores.

Increasingly, we are bombarded with calls to measure everything and have the right metrics for each of our actions.

Marketing and sales are most susceptible to metrics overload.

Most marketers believe that you can be successful just by measuring all of your efforts, campaigns and actions.

At this point, you might be thinking – Yes, exactly!

And let me tell you right away, I’m not going to use negative metrics or approach to measuring marketing campaigns or testing.

On the other hand, what I would like to say is better to suggest that too much metric can do more harm than good. And when we have software today that allows us to monitor everything we can imagine, we’re more susceptible than ever to.

So maybe it is better to stick to our gut and experience than to measure things?

Please check!

Table of contents:

  1. Are the metrics important?
  2. What’s better: your stats or gut?
  3. Things to avoid when applying indicators

Are the metrics important?

First of all, we have to physically check whether metrics should be used. To do that, we have to take a moment to explore why we use metrics and what their primary use cases are.

Of course, most of us, marketers here, would say that metrics are used to measure our efforts to be able to judge what’s wrong and what’s right. Or rather to check what we are doing wrong and what we are doing right.

In addition to measuring the standard metrics that help you with everyday activities, some of them also give you an overview of the A / B tests we run.

This way, we can not only see if our business is doing well, but we can also choose a better variation of whatever we’re currently testing.

Reading the explanation above, we can – I guess – 100% agree that the metrics are great and should be applicable within every business (maybe besides our competition, let them sink.)

But there is another side of the indicators used for what.

We use not only metrics to evaluate results, but also people. If someone is responsible for something the easiest way to gauge how well they are doing is to apply some sort of indicator.

This way we can gauge their work by looking at a chart, a single number or some preferred percentage.

However, such an approach can lead to terrible results and can completely reduce a person’s work. This is sometimes seen in businesses, where a company has how many employees, there is no way to test each of them directly.

As Nassim Taleb puts it: “Employees have a very simple goal function: complete tasks that their supervisor deems necessary or meet some playable metrics.”

In such a bureaucratic environment, people can only do their best to achieve their goals (metrics), which doesn’t necessarily mean they do the best for the company.

How could that be?

Do you know what the easiest way to make $ 100,000 (other than stealing it) is?

Pick a product and spend $ 100,000 on Facebook ads. Good luck!

Did you achieve your goal? It’s correct.

Are you making a profit? Are not.

As Nassim continues: “Indicators are always staked: a politician can load the system with debt to“ improve growth and GDP, ”and let a successor deal with delayed results. “.

Fortunately, entrepreneurs and small startups are unlikely to fall into the trap of just measuring their employees with metrics. However, it is still possible that they may over-measure their efforts, which instead of helping them make progress, halt the process.

As we can see, the indicators are like the moon, having their bright and dark sides.

Yes, they are helpful and can get us on the right track and choose the variant that performs better while doing A / B testing. But they can also cause a lot of harm when we just focus on it. numbers and charts.

Next, we will look at the main question. Specifically, what’s better: figures or gut?

What’s better: your metrics or gut?

Since there are some limitations to metrics (or rather how we apply them), it’s good to look for an alternative.

The most obvious thing will be what we rely on before the indicators are even a thing. Specifically our gut.

Since using metrics is prone to a lot of mistakes, why not just ask your employees, as business owners or managers, to perform a specific task without specifying metrics or KPIs.

Let’s say you want your team to create an application. Therefore, you need your design team (or groups) to first create models of that application. And let’s say you want to focus on user experience because we know that’s one of the most important things when it comes to software today.

You and your designers know that to create an app that places importance on UX, you have to remember it must be clear, intuitive, and simple.

Okay, so let’s say you have two design teams, you give them both a week to work (quite generously) on that task and let them showcase your work at next Monday’s meeting.

Here is it. Monday. Meeting.

Both teams show off what they’ve created. Of course, both of them would say that their project is the most UX-oriented. But how do you know that?

At this point, we can do it one by one and a) trust in our bravery and choose what we feel like the most UX-optimized app or b) set metrics that will determine our whether an application is well-designed in terms of UX.

Both approaches are prone to some mistakes but we can safely judge that the metrics are more controllable and will help us get the average score when making the assessment. .

Of course, if you have a real expert who has worked with Fortune 100 companies and has created dozens of apps for them then his review may be correct. Sadly, most of us don’t have the privilege of working in such a company, so we have to find some other way to gauge whether things are up to the mark.

As long as you work as a founder alone, you can count on your skills.

It may not be at all times of your journey but since you will have so many decisions to make, sometimes it’s better to go gut rather than analyze every detail.

However, as soon as you have other colleagues make a decision with you, the gut won’t play such an important role.

That’s because each of us has a different experience and a different way of evaluating things. In addition, we can rely on various studies, analyzes and reports. Hence, trying to find an average with no pre-set requirement for right or wrong becomes nearly impossible.

Here are the numbers.

Rather than guessing what UX direction is and what isn’t, it’s much more convenient to put just a few metrics that will help us determine the significance of UX direction.

This way, you can put any argument aside and turn it into a simple discussion of which indicators to include. And then, after the projects are ready to be evaluated, compare them against the metrics you’ve selected.

Of course, both your gut (based on your experience) and the numbers are prone to errors. However, the following helps you to make faster decisions when you work in a team. Plus, you have to take into account the design team. If you lean on your gut and beg for your experience, they may also cite themselves and tell you why you’re not right.

To conclude, the gut (think: personal experience, opinion) is an unimportant long-term personal thing while the metrics are not so error-prone. Metrics are therefore a better choice when objective evaluation is needed.

Also, even if the indicators are false, they cannot be controlled, because… these are simply numbers and percentages!

Things to avoid when applying Metrics

Now that we know metrics are the way to go, it would be smart to include best practices and worst practices when applying them.

As I mentioned before, metrics are not 100% error resistant. Furthermore, they can easily deceive you and trick you into thinking that everything is going according to plan, while your ship is about to crash into an iceberg.

I guess I’ve heard that story before …

However, I will try to list the most important methods to help you implement your plan successfully. 😉

Focus on what’s important

It’s easy to apply metrics to whatever you do.

Remember that each metric you apply slows down the process and produces unnecessary friction and distortion. So instead of rushing all your efforts with numbers and charts, focus only on what’s important.

First, you must evaluate what is truly important to your business.

Usually, we focus on the things that matter rather than the things that really matter.

Social media posts are an easy example. Too many marketers and business owners focus on post impressions and reach. But what if none of these people convert or visit your website? If so, what are the actual values ​​of these impressions?

With today’s software, you can measure everything, but that’s not necessarily a good thing if you can’t make the right choice.

So take advantage of this richness and focus only on what’s valuable to your business.

Match the metrics with matching results

Besides focusing on unnecessary indicators, we also tend to compare certain metrics with results that are not necessarily correlated.

Here, social media posts are another great example. And I’m not done with determining the number of impressions you get on your posts.

For every business owner, ROI is important. Whenever you put a certain amount of money into your effort, you want to get a multiplier in the result.

Let’s say that you take impressions on your social media posts as a measure of whether a certain amount of money you put in your ads is worth it. Taking impressions as the primary metric shows that you associate it with the results this post gives you.

But does this metric have a direct effect on the results?

Maybe getting likes would be a smarter move?

Or some hits?

Even better, the number of conversions.

What I’m trying to say is that you should do your best to properly match the metrics with their results. This will save you a lot of money, as well as get a good overview of whether or not you have put in the right actions!

Be skeptical and use disapproval indicators

Whenever you decide to adopt a metric, be skeptical of its results.

Don’t take everything for granted and assume the relationship you see is okay. Instead of relying on your gut, adopt objectionable indicators.

What are the counter-metrics doing, do they give you a second look at what you can assume, working well or not.

That’s because even if one specific metric shows a result that looks good, another metric relating to the same action could reveal its weak side reducing the impact of the first.

For example, when it comes to email marketing – instead of just looking at open rates, consider unsubscribe rates. You might think most of your email open listings are a good thing, but what if that, in fact, causes you to lose most of them?

An attractive subject line can increase open rates but if most people feel frustrated or tricked after they see the email content, they can unsubscribe.

So whenever you decide to measure your efforts through a specific metric, choose another one that can show whether the results you’re getting are really worth it.

Don’t just accept metrics and indicator goals without understanding them

The last worst practice that marketers and business owners do is to apply metrics and evaluate metrics without fully understanding them.

This can lead to serious damage and take actions that are not necessarily taken. After all, the metrics are there to help you measure your efforts. This way, you know when is the right time to turn and go in any direction.

However, if you don’t understand what you are optimizing for then you may end up thinking that you are taking the right steps while wrong metric goals make you bald.

To choose the right data, it’s important to do the right research. That is the first step. Relying on quantitative data can show you the correlation between the action and the outcome.

This will help you choose the right metrics and evaluate what you should optimize for.

But the journey doesn’t end here.

You must track your metric goals and track whether the metric moves in proportion to what’s happening with your product / service.

It can happen that what you’re doing is giving good results but the numbers you have chosen are not showing any improvement. On the contrary, the index may move like the chart of the S&P 500 during the past year, but your business is not looking to be progressing at all.

In any of the above situations, you have to carefully review and evaluate your metric goal and evaluate if you can outperform it.

Try optimizing for something else and see if that makes it more effective at visualizing the progress of your product and actually correlating with your actions and your team.


Well, that’s a long road behind us!

I hope this section will help you clarify how you measure the performance of yourself and your employees, and focus on what’s really important.

Remember that metrics are a great way to measure your efforts but like the surplus of anything, too many metrics can make your business cluttered and uncertain. .

So focus on what’s important, evaluate everyone’s work, not the metrics themselves, be judgmental about your decisions and most importantly always be great!

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Leadee.ai Team


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